Wiccanate Privilege Workshop
So in the wider Pagan/Polytheist community there was quite the kerfluffle over the concept of Wiccanate Privilege. My local community is behind the times…out of touch…clueless or maybe simply more tolerant. I don’t know. Yet I’ve started to see the possibilities of there being problems.
A prime example would be at the staff meeting for the local Pagan festival, Dragonfest. The staff t-shirt had a pentacle upon it. Yet there is several polytheists on staff, primarily heathens (I am the token Hellenic 🙂 ). When it was mentioned that the symbol is very exclusionary of other non-Wiccan Pagans, we were met with startled, almost deer-in-the-headlight looks. It hadn’t remotely occurred to them that not all of those attending the festival would not consider the pentacle a holy or representative symbol. They promised they’d figure something else out.
So I mentioned to one of the other polytheists about the whole Wiccanate Privilege debate and suggested it would make for an interesting workshop. I also suggested that it may help head off future issues. I’ve was reminded of the time at a workshop, one of the community elders stating that no one worships the Greek Gods anymore. While I promptly, disabused him of that notion, I think it is fairly typical viewpoint in the local community. She thought it sounded like an interesting workshop. Long story short, she agreed to do the workshop and asked me to attend.
Unfortunately, she forgot her notes and it was more sparsely attended than we would have hoped. So she facilitated it as a more informal round table. There were five polytheists (three Heathens, one Hellenic and one Druid). I can’t remember how many others attended but I do know there were a couple of the festival “crones”, one of which is a High Priestess of her own coven and several other people. Now for someone who likes to talk, talking in a formal setting gives me heebee geebees so overall this was a better format for me. I presented what has happened in the wider community stating how we want to avoid that here. We discussed how Wiccans, who are the majority at this festival, assume that their way of doing ritual, seeing the deities as the typical methodology of all festival attendees. While that is fine for particular rituals, however it leaves out a growing percentage of the community during community-wide rituals, such as the opening and closing ritual for the festival. We discussed the differences in beliefs such as duotheism vs. polytheism and the differences in ritual such as circles and quarters. It was also touched upon that the reasons Heathens stopped attending this festival (which used to have many attend) was because of the increase (almost to the point of belligerence) expectation of Wiccan methods and beliefs over all others in community-wide rituals. Overall, I think we brought things to the attention of the attendees that they had never heard about more less thought about. There was also some interest expressed for next year in having similar discussions on more specific topics.
While the workshop was sparsely attended, I think we did a good job of kicking the door open on the discussion. I look forward to seeing how the local community progresses in this area.
Oh, and the staff t-shirt? The pentacle was replaced with the festival logo, a dragon. 🙂